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March 21, 2010

The Christian Mysteries and Magic

By Dionysios Farasiotis

Having personally experienced both the Christian Mysteries [Sacraments] and magic, I can affirm that there is nothing magical about Holy Communion or the other Mysteries of the Christian Faith. The Mysteries are performed with the power of Christ and require conscious and voluntary participation. In order for Christ to act within the Divine Mysteries, the communicant has to will to participate in the Mystery consciously: he must yearn for it, and he is required to prepare for it with personal struggle. This is why those who nonchalantly approach the Mysteries out of habit experience very little change, if they experience anything at all. When, however, a person manifests his desire for God and his assent to being united with Him by taking pains to repent sincerely, God in turn will approach the genuinely repentant one to the extent and degree that He knows will be beneficial for that person's soul.

The importance of conscious participation in the Mysteries of Christ can be seen in the elder's [Elder Paisios] response to a man who foolishly boasted about communing frequently. The deluded fellow pridefully thought that he had become holy, because he would commune two to three times a week. The elder told him, "Look here, it's not so important how often you commune. What's most important is how you prepare yourself and then, afterwards, how much you tend to Christ Who's living inside you. If people were sanctified just by frequent Communion, then all the priests who commune every Sunday and during the week would be saints."

From The Gurus, the Young Man, and Elder Paisios, p. 291.